1,200 cameras – HOW?

The hidden camera scandal

How could the Likud install one thousand two hundred hidden cameras in polling booths?

Like a successful magic trick one has to puzzle at how they carried it off. With that sort of efficiency surely the new government will be able to fix the trains and the hospitals?

Questions, Questions and more Questions

Hidden camera in booth

A hidden camera allegedly smuggled into a polling station in an Arab town by a Likud observer during parliamentary elections on April 9, 2019. (Hadash-Ta’al)

When I first heard this story I was convinced it was fake news until the Likud apparently admitted to it. The coordination and planning for this stunt would make the Mossad proud.

  1. How does one go about acquiring 1,200 cameras, at short notice?

    It’s hardly the standard inventory for a local photography store.  If the solution is to order them directly from the factory, how were they smuggled past customs into this country?

  2. How many Likud ‘workers’ were involved?
    How were they selected?
    How were they trained?

    It’s not as if attaching spy equipment, without detection, is part of  everybody’s natural skill set. Nor is it clear that all the selected will accept such a patently illegal assignment and keep it under their hats, even if on-board with the idea.Polling booths are erected in public buildings such as schools or community centres. I’m guessing between five to ten booths per building. Allowing for ten that’s about one hundred and twenty buildings to be infiltrated – presumably at least that many operatives.

  3. Hidden camera in the palm of a handHow does an operative install a camera, let alone 1,200 of them?

    Each polling booth in an Israeli election is manned by three officials, each from a different political party. That’s to make sure the voting is honest. At least two and in a predominately Arab booth possibly three with a vested interest opposing the Likud.In addition there are registered observers from any party that wishes them. No one else is allowed in.Installing a camera during the day risks immediate detection.

  4. Did anyone enter before polling observers were in place?Public buildings, such as schools are routinely locked and the guards are armed. It is truly a Mission Impossible stunt to imagine the operatives broke into one hundred plus buildings without being caught.
  5. How was the data collected and analysed?
    How were the cameras removed?It only took a few minutes of net surfing to discover that cameras of the type discovered record their data on memory cards. Someone had to collect the cameras, remove the cards and then, if they were thorough, sit through nineteen or more hours of observation times 1,200. That’s a massive operation itself.

    Even though most polling booths run between 7AM and 22PM work doesn’t stop with the closing of the polls. The votes are then counted and valid and invalid slips separated. Polling officials can expect to leave for home about midnight!

    Next day the school opens again for normal classes leaving the operatives precious little time to remove their handiwork.

  6.  Surely the money could have been better spent?Channel 13 said the project cost NIS 1.5 million ($417,000). That’s quite a sum to blow with no obvious advantage to be had. Even worse the treasury would likely refuse to subsidise the bill.
  7. Why, why, why?So far two explanations have been given and frankly neither makes much sense.

    The first is that the effort was to scare Arab voters from voting. I can’t understand how a hidden camera would do that. Surely the message has to be spread that the cameras are in place? That rather defeats the logic of hiding them.

    The second is to detect voting fraud. Multiple voting by the same person is a possibility, especially with Arab women wearing head-to-toe traditional abaya not that all or even most dress that way. However, in practise this form of deception is rare. Unable to check faces from their identity photographs the officials ask questions which only the genuine voter would know the answer. For example, “What is the name of Mohammed Zoabi’s second daughter”? Woe betide the woman who tries to cheat.

    Also, let’s speculate that the camera did uncover some election fraud. The evidence would be inadmissible in court as a breach of election rules. If indeed the idea was Netanyahu’s initiative Case 5000 would surely follow.

    Who ever said Israeli elections were boring?

About David Guy

B.A./B.C.A. (Communication and Media Arts) University of Wollongong, AUSTRALIA M.A. in Government (Diplomacy and Conflict Studies) Inter Disciplinary Center, Herzliya, ISRAEL Twitter @5MFI
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